State of emergency extended in Egypt


Egypt’s parliament approved the extension of a nationwide state of emergency until the end of September as a police officer and two conscripts were killed by a roadside bomb in the Sinai where Egypt faces an Islamist insurgency.

Parliament unanimously approved a three-month state of emergency in April, giving authorities greater power to crack down on what it called enemies of the state after two church bombings killed at least 45 people.

The extension, by a further three months, ordered by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, means the state of emergency will last at least until the end of September, Ali Abdelaal, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said.
“The reasons for which the state of emergency was declared are still in place and therefore it must be extended,” Abdelaal told lawmakers.

Apart from the three killed, 10 other policemen were wounded by the roadside explosion in the Sinai Peninsula, security and medical sources told Reuters.

The blast hit an armoured vehicle south of Arish, capital of North Sinai province, killing a lieutenant colonel of the central security forces and two of his men, the sources said.

State television confirmed an officer and two conscripts were killed but did not mention any wounded. There was no immediate comment from the interior ministry.

Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency led by Islamic State in North Sinai, where hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed since 2013 when the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests.

Islamic State has also increasingly carried out attacks in the mainland on security forces and Coptic Christian civilians in recent months, killing around 100 Copts since December.

Security sources said Islamic State fighters were most likely behind the attack and detonated the bomb remotely as the armoured vehicle drove by. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.